This hardcover debut from the author of Standing Wave, etc. arrives too late for a full review. By 2014, a religion-obsessed government is repressing scientific endeavor. Some years previously, however, Jacinta Larkin discovered a South American Neanderthal population whose religion was based on ingesting a fungus that produced cosmic mental connections and eventually would transport them through a wormhole to meet the alien Allesseh. (When an Allesseh ship crashed on Earth millions of years ago, they left the fungus in case intelligence someday evolved.) Jacinta’s skeptical brother Paul watches in disbelief as Jacinta and friends vanish into space. Eventually, he sells the fungus to Dr. Vang, who hopes to develop mind/machine linkages of such information density that a transcendental singularity will open. Others take the fungus drug with varying degrees of enlightenment. Meanwhile, researcher Lydia Farbro discovers an alien artifact in a California tar pit. Extraordinarily rich in ideas, but bogged down by indistinguishable characters and laborious exposition.